Los Angeles Magazine recently published an in-depth feature on gender disparity in the animation industry and examined how CalArts’ animation programs are helping to redraw those gender lines. The magazine’s Robert Ito reported that while the animation student body at CalArts is 70 percent female, the number of women with union jobs only accounts for 25 percent of the total workforce.
Ito examined ways that CalArts is helping change the industry and highlighted the Institute’s symposium on gender bias in animation, The Animated Woman. Originated by former School of Film/Video faculty Erica Larsen-Dockray as a class, the conference addressed female representation in animated films and television shows. Ito also talked to a number of CalArts alumnae about their journeys and careers.
Animators featured in the article include:
- Brenda Chapman (Film/Video BFA 87): Chapman helped launch Dreamworks Animation Studios after working on animated feature films at Disney such as The Lion King (1994) and The Little Mermaid (1989). In 2013, she set a record as the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature for co-directing Pixar’s Brave.
- Kirsten Lepore (Film/Video MFA 12): Earlier this year, Lepore’s original stop-motion animation, Hi Stranger went viral, and was featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Lepore’s many credits include directing the Emmy and Annie award-winning Adventure Time episode, “Bad Jubies,” and a centennial film for Planned Parenthood co-directed by writer and actress Lena Dunham.
- Josie Trinidad (Film/Video BFA 02): Trinidad is Head of Story at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Her film credits include Zootopia, which won the 2017 Oscar for Best Animated Feature, Tangled (2010), Wreck-it Ralph (2012) and The Princess and the Frog (2009).
- Elizabeth Ito (Film/Video BFA 04): Ito is an award-winning animator and storyboard artist who’s currently working on Julia Pott’s Cartoon Network series, Summer Camp Island, which premieres next year. Ito mentions in the article that Pott “made a definite effort to hire a lot of women—as many women as she can—to story positions, and for me, a supervising position.”
- Emily Dean (Film/Video BFA 13): Dean is a story artist at Warner Brothers/Warner Animation Group. She worked on The Lego Batman Movie (2017) and is currently working on The Lego Movie Sequel (2019).
- Daron Nefcy (Film/Video BFA 09): Nefcy created and runs the Disney show Star vs. the Forces of Evil. When it was picked up, she became only the second series creator hired by Disney Television Animation. In the feature, Maija Burnett, Director of CalArts’ Character Animation Program, adds that Nefcy’s hiring practices have also helped, “I’ve seen Daron Nefcy’s show hire our female alumni, and that’s been great. There’s obviously a mix of men and women there, but I think it’s spawned its own great unofficial group of female artists.”
- Niki Yang (Film/Video BFA 03): Yang is a voice actor and storyboard artist with a list of high-profile roles on Adventure Time, Family Guy, Gravity Falls and We Bare Bears.
To read the entire feature, please visit Los Angeles Magazine.